Envy (noun): A feeling of discontented or resentful longing aroused by someone else’s possessions, qualities or luck
(verb): Desire to have a quality, possession, or other desirable attribute belonging to (someone else)
I’m sure this is a behavior we’ve all exhibited at some point in life even if it was an isolated moment in time, usually during childhood before we learn better. For instance, not being picked for the team or perhaps not being one of the teacher’s favorites, therefore becoming envious of those who are choosen and become the teacher’s pet. I recall myself being envious of two distinct scenarios. As a teen I remember the feeling of envy towards certain people who died. My stepfather was my first experience with the death of someone close to me. I wasn’t sad when I heard the news, more in shock, disbelief and anger. I somehow got the impression that bad people were fortunate to die and leave this world, no longer forced to face the pain, struggles or chaos in society as a whole. I can’t believe I actually thought good people were left here to suffer. Thankfully, I soon realized how ridiculous my thought process was. As an adult I then grew envy of drag queens. I know, call me crazy but the skill and patience it takes to apply makeup and wigs so flawlessly is a work of art in my opinion, also a skill , at one time I wished I possessed. On a much more serious note, unfortunately “envy” can be destructive, destroying families as well as friendships. I used to wonder why the word is refferenced to the phrase “green eyed monster”. Although the term was first coined by Shakespeare in his play Othello in 1604, jealousy is universal in human nature and can even lead the nicest people to do awful things.
I’m writing this post from a place of sadness. Recently I had to make a tough decision on whether or not I should end a nine year friendship or actually what I thought had blossomed into a sisterhood. Due to my health and medical issues I decided that because of the constant stress it was causeing me, it no longer felt like a friendship and wasn’t worth it. This particular young lady who I didn’t want to befriend initially only because it’s always been hard allowing myself to get close to people in the first place, eventually became someone I grew to love. She was a witness to all my latest storms. When my seizures began out of nowhere, my husband disappearing, homelessness along with everything else that tried to weigh me down. While watching me struggle my way through, I can’t say she didn’t help to an extent; however it didn’t go without notice, help was offered when it benefited her which was fine because I also noticed areas where she struggled, figuring we could help each other.
What many jealous people don’t realize is that someone can appear to have it all together in life from the outside, but often we don’t know what’s going on behind closed doors. Just because a person lives in a big house in an upscale neighborhood, driving a fancy car doesn’t mean they’re happy. People struggle with weight and other insecurities. Some have hidden addictions, issues with self worth and burried trauma. Loneliness is a huge factor for many. Having money and people around you constantly doesn’t mean you’re not lonely when those people don’t actually give a damn about you and are only there to help spend your money. In my case, it became clear that this person desired certain qualities I possess when she’d repeatedly say ” I wish I could ??? like that”, referring to how I’d do/handle certain tasks. I was confused at first because she’d seen me at my weakest most vulnerable moments where I was contemplating suicide or just on the verdge of giving up, but my faith nor who I am won’t allow it. Often it’s offensive when people tell me how strong I am. I think to myself, if only they knew. She would ask me questions like “your weight doesn’t bother you”, “how come you have so much confidence?” Or she’d say, “I’ve never seen you cry about your husband leaving, aren’t you sad”, “why not call him and find out why he left?” Truth be told, it wasn’t that sad of an occassion. I miss her way more than I could ever miss him. The question that always gets me is “why are you always smiling and so bubbly with everything you’re going through?”
I constantly tried to explain that my actions were simply a choice. To be angry would not bring good results if any. When realizing that regardless of what I had to face wasn’t going to break me, she then began to sabotage the friendship. I desperately wanted not to believe what was happening, but soon became too obvious. Every time we were together which was suddenly rare, she would intentionally try starting an argument or push my buttons by making up things that simply didn’t make sense. Because of her I felt forced to start keeping “receipts” (not necessarily in the literal sense). Knowing I struggle with memory and minor details due to the seizures, she would say and accuse me of things that didn’t make sense and weren’t even close to my nature. So I began checking those receipts (text messages etc.) for the facts. As a friend, I’d talk to her about it giving her an opportunity to account for her actions and/or apologize, but she’d shut down claiming to either not remember (eventhough her memory was just fine all the years before) or try convincing me that I was making it all up eventhough the proof was right there in front of us. Once she was caught and as delicate as I was trying to be for the sake of the friendship, she stopped calling. She may answer if I call, but her entire demeanor had changed. I believe she was avoiding me due to shame and for some it’s too hard to admit when your wrong. It’s ok though because I’m not angry at all just sad that she doesn’t see the beauty in herself like I do. Like I prayed in making this decision, I pray for her that she learns to love herself and gain confidence in all aspects of her life. I will continue to pray for her always, we share some great memories. I have to take care of my health first and don’t want or need people in my life who don’t support my dreams or dismiss and belittle the work I’m passionate about or cause more trouble and stress on top of what the world already throws at us on a regular. If we are not careful envy/jealousy can also end in tragedy just like in Othello. I can’t help but wonder why someone would even name their child after one of the seven deadly sins. Was it coincidence or motivated by character?